Something happened this week. Something unexpected. And something welcomed. I rediscovered my love for hockey.
As a child, I used to watch hockey on TV with my dad and my brother. I remember hearing all about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and players like Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald. I cheered them on. Every Saturday night was “Hockey Night in Canada”, and it was a tradition at our house. As the years went on, I watched more and more hockey. One of my cousins was an amazing player, and when he played in the OHL we would go see him play with the London Knights, mostly against the Kitchener Rangers. It was fun to sit there and cheer him on with other members of my family, making it not only a night out but a family get-together. And, of course, the action of the game was exhilarating. When my cousin was drafted into the NHL, the trips to see him play continued, taking us to Toronto (and of course I couldn’t/wouldn’t cheer for the Leafs anymore), Ottawa, and Buffalo. I loved watching the action and feeling the excitement in the air. I especially loved seeing my cousin – because I didn’t get to see him much due to his schedule, and because he lived in other parts of the country and in the United States as well – and seeing the other hockey players. I knew they all had worked their butts off to get where they were and it intrigued me how they could be that good (probably because I am not athletically-inclined, so anyone who is is a mystery to me!). They were the best of the best. The talent that these guys had…Wow.
In later years my cousin retired and I married a man who is not a hockey fan, and so watching hockey became a thing of the past for me. When I had a son I hoped he would want to play the sport, and carry on a tradition in my family, but he had no interest. He didn’t even have an interest in watching it…until this week.
The Olympics changed that. They changed him. And they made me rediscover my love of the sport. When Zander came home from school on Thursday, thrilled that the Canadian women’s hockey team had won the gold medal, I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised. We hadn’t watched a hockey game together…ever. And we hadn’t been watching any of the Olympic events, including the hockey. Apparently his entire school had gathered in the gymnasium to watch the game, and the excitement must’ve been catching…because Zander caught it. And brought it home. I hadn’t watched the game, despite being home with my other child, my 2 year old girl, and obviously near several TVs. Years of no longer watching the sport meant I was no longer interested. But the next day, when the Canadian men’s hockey team was playing the United States in the semi-final, I thought I should record it for Zander, in case they didn’t watch it at school. I assumed they would though. They didn’t. And Zander was not happy. However, when I told him I recorded the game for him, his mood changed. We watched it together. And my mom and dad happened to be here as well, and so we all sat together and watched it. Sure, we knew the outcome because the game had ended about an hour before, and of course because Canada won EVERYONE was talking about it, but that didn’t matter. We still sat in front of the TV and watched. And I was excited. It was just like old times, but without the stress of worrying if my team would win(!). And this morning, when the gold medal game between Canada and Sweden started, I couldn’t wait to get to the TV with the kids and start watching. I felt the excitement in the air. Canada scored. Then again. And a third time. And then it was over. The Canadian men’s hockey team had won the gold. Jubilation. Jubilation for the win, of course, but also for the opportunity to watch this fantastic sport with my family…finally.
I need to say thank you to the Canadian men’s hockey team, and to the Canadian women’s hockey team, and to the Olympics for giving me back something I had lost along the way: my love of the sport of hockey. That is golden to me.